Supply Chain

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Full Title or Meme

For Identity Management in a digital world the important parts of the supply change are the user hardware and software and the entire cloud ecosystem.

Context

  • Typically the only parts of the Supply Chain that a user or a developer sees are the immediate hardware or software decision that they make. The full scale of all the parts that are drawn into the local system by those decisions are seldom investigated, even when a Threat Model is created.
  • The US NCCoE has established a Supply Chain Assurance effort focused on the hardware.

Problems

  • The most common problem Supply Chain corruption is indifference. Typically when included in a Threat Model the response will be "you must be in real trouble if you don't know where your computers are coming from." It is still likely that most threat analysis will omit any concern with supply chain corruption.
  • Even though it may be incredibly difficult to get management to consider supply chain issues, it is not useful to address any security issues if you cannot even be sure that the computers and the software delivered are free of deliberate or accidental vulnerabilities.
  • Portable hardware devices have proven to be an easy attack target. In the simplest case a USB file key is left lying around where someone might use it and thus infect the computer. In more sophisticated attacks the hardware will be altered in the supply chain before it reaches the intended target user. For example Criminals are mailing altered Ledger devices to steal cryptocurrency [1]
  • The exploits have started to surface with (2020) Solar Winds infections that continue to be discovered. There the problem was a dll that was replaced in the development chain that was never validated.
  • Developer tools make it very easy to inject dependence's on external packages with just a click of the mouse. the article on "Dependency Confusion: How I Hacked Into Apple, Microsoft and Dozens of Other Companies" shows how easy that act can be exploited. The vulnerability has always been their, but as other exploits are blocked, this one becomes more attractive.

Dependancy Injections

This is about a broad meaning of dependency injections that apply whenever a download application takes a dependency on code from any source outside of the current development project.

" Dependency Confusion: How I Hacked Into Apple, Microsoft and Dozens of Other Companies" shows how easy that act can be exploited. The vulnerability has always been their, but as other exploits are blocked, this one becomes more attractive.

Solutions

With the issuance of the Executive Order on Cyber Security, NIST was tasked with a definition of Critical Software. The report fails to even mention zero trust principles and explicitly walks back from applying the to this definitions in the final point of the definition which is:

EO-critical software is defined as any software that has, or has direct software dependencies upon, one or more components with at least one of these attributes:

  • is designed to run with elevated privilege or manage privileges;
  • has direct or privileged access to networking or computing resources;
  • is designed to control access to data or operational technology;
  • performs a function critical to trust; or,
  • operates outside of normal trust boundaries with privileged access.

NIST recommends that the initial EO implementation phase focus on standalone, on-premises software that has security-critical functions or poses similar significant potential for harm if compromised. Subsequent phases may address other categories of software such as:

  • software that controls access to data;
  • cloud-based and hybrid software;
  • software development tools such as code repository systems, development tools, testing software, integration software, packaging software, and deployment software;
  • software components in boot-level firmware; or
  • software components in operational technology (OT).

For the topic of this wiki, which is: Identity, credential, and access management (ICAM), or Software that centrally identifies, authenticates, manages access rights for, or enforces access decisions for organizational users, systems, and devices. That is software that is used in these products:

  • Identity management systems
  • Identity provider and federation services
  • Certificate issuers
  • Access brokers
  • Privileged access management software
  • Public key infrastructure

The other major category is Endpoint Security, which should be applicable to web browsers and to mobile wallets, defined as "Software installed on an endpoint, usually with elevated privileges which enable or contribute to the secure operation of the endpoint or enable the detailed collection of information about the endpoint"

  • Full disk encryption
  • Password managers
  • Software that searches for, removes, or quarantines malicious software
  • Software that reports the security state of the endpoint (vulnerabilities and configurations)
  • Software that collects detailed information about the state of the firmware, operating system, applications, user and service accounts, and runtime environment

References

  1. Lawrence Abrams, Criminals are mailing altered Ledger devices to steal cryptocurrency Bleeping Computer (2021-06-16) https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/cryptocurrency/criminals-are-mailing-altered-ledger-devices-to-steal-cryptocurrency/

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